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What’s the best way of familiarising students with product development? Nothing works better than getting them to do it for themselves! By getting them to look for gaps in the market, to develop recipes and to investigate feasibility, students gain an excellent understanding of the profession.

Competition with European final

Given that the food industry is itching for good product developers, TKI Agri & Food wants to fire students’ interest in the profession by organising a student competition. This competition, under the title EcoTrophelia, involves teams of students in higher vocational education (HBO) and at university level (WO) developing innovative food products with social and environmental concerns in mind. The best three teams will compete in an exciting final to win a ticket for the European final, which is held alternately in London, Paris or Cologne.

Numerous ideas have come before the jury in recent years, such as beer made from product residues, spreads made from carrot leaves, algae snacks and gluten-free pasta. The developer of the last product has now started up her own business and will be launching her pasta on the market early next year. Ecotrophelia proves an inspiration to students each year, often resulting not only in high finishing scores at the European final, but on occasion in new businesses as well.

Would you like to take part?
The competition is open to all food-based study programmes at MBO, HBO and WO institutions. In the preliminary rounds, often as many as eight teams will compete for a place in the Dutch final. In our view, the competition has room for a great many more than that! That’s why we’re sending a cordial invitation to your study programme to take part in next year’s competition. The Dutch final is scheduled for 24 May 2019. The European final will be organised at 6 and 7 October in Cologne, Germany.

Further information

If you’d like to know how fellow study programmes go about taking part, we’d be happy to put you in touch with them. Naturally, you can also contact us with any other queries.

It would be terrific to have a team from your study programme enter the 2019 competition! So if you’d like to take part, please don’t hesitate to Dit e-mailadres wordt beveiligd tegen spambots. JavaScript dient ingeschakeld te zijn om het te bekijken.!

Download here the European regulations.


Ecotrophelia has the ambition to promote entrepreneurship and competitiveness within the European food industry by implementing a training network of excellence in food innovation and the organization of national and European food innovation competitions "The Student Awards of Food Innovation” a real eyeopener for the food industry. Ecotrophelia achieves the goal of bringing together students, teachers, researchers and professionals of the food sector in a network to think about tomorrow’s eco-innovative food products. ECOTROPHELIA Europe constitutes a life-size innovation laboratory for universities and students and a pedagogical model recognized by the European Commission. The competition offers a ground for fruitful exchanges between education and research sectors and the business world. For professionals from the food industries, Ecotrophelia is a great pool of talent, skill-sets and innovation.

The Dutch competion

TKI Agri&Food organizes annually the ECOTROPHELIA competition. This competition is open to student teams from scientific or commercial higher education, located in the Netherlands. The main goal of the competition is the creation of an eco-innovative food product prototype. The ECOTROPHELIA competition is organized in two phases:

Phase 1 - 24 May 2019: The national final ECOTROPHELIA Netherlands
Phase 2 - the European final, ECOTROPHELIA Europe. First price is € 6000, second € 4000 and third € 2000.

How to participate?
Create an eco-innovative food product with high commercial potential. Subscribe your team, deliver your technical file and convince the jury of the brightness of your project!

Prototype food product
The prototype food product must be fit for human consumption and aimed to the consumer. The food product must be commercially relevant and therefore stand out for its taste and nutritional qualities. The product must be innovative and the ecological features should be considered.

Technical file
The prototype food product must be presented with a technical dossier, including the description of the food product, it's eco-innovative features and a business plan.

Only (multidisciplinary) teams of 2 to 8 students will be allowed. The teams may be composed of students from different institutions. A team can be composed of students from the same or different institutions. As the files require both technical and commercial expertise, we advise the teams to rely on multidisciplinary input. In each case, the organization and the supervision of the team and the contacts with TKI Agri&Food are under the responsibility of the university college or university at which the students in the team are registered.

How to register

To subscribe you need to fill in the subscription form and send this by mail to TKI Agri & Food. The deadline is April 15th . Please deliver also the dossier not later than May 19th.

15 April deadline delivering registration form
19 May deadline deliverling technical file, product presentation, media file and European Master form
24 May final at VHL Velp (Larensteinselaan 26a, 6882 CT Velp)


Established in France in 2000, Ecotrophelia expanded to a European scale in 2008, Ecotrophelia Europe is organized by the European Technology Platform "Food for Life", ANIA (National Association of Food Industries) and CCI Vaucluse. FOODDRINK Europe, the st ructure which groups together food federations, is also involved in the organization. On the principle of a food innovation “Champions League” each European country organizes its own national competition to select the most innovative food project that will then be presented at Ecotrophelia Europe. The selections are coordinated by the national food federations. The teams are composed of 2 to 10 students from either public or private higher education European establishments, scientific or commercial.

Since 2011 Ecotrophelia Europe has motivated the organization of 90 national competitions, mobilized more than 550 universities and nearly 3,000 European students and the development of more than 350 products! Of these products more than 40 have been developed and marketed in European distribution channels.

It is in this context that a dozen national federations and the European Federation FoodDrinkEurope decided, around the Chamber of Commerce of Vaucluse, to create a European Economic Interest Grouping to now carry these initiatives: EEIG ECOTROPHELIA EUROPE

The European Economic Interest Group aims to promote entrepreneurship and competitiveness in the European food industry through the implementation and development of innovative programs in the food industry and cooperation and exchange between SMEs with universities, research institutes, public and private agencies involved in food innovation.